Bleibtreu's still got it. Photo: Filmladen/Petro Domenigg
It's been a while since there was a really feelgood movie about the Holocaust. It's been ... well ... ? Can someone think of something other than the slightly pompous Life is Beautiful.
Go and see Wolfgang Murnberger's Mein Bester Feind – probably no other film has ever worn the terror of the Third Reich so lightly – only Ernst Lubitsch's To Be Or Not Be and The Great Dictator come to mind, but they were both Hollywood movies, made so close to the event they could not take in the full horror.
This is a German – well, actually Austrian - movie. It channels the spirit of Lubitsch, there's a direct hommage to Chaplin's masterpiece, and it effortlessly pulls off the trick of dealing with its moral problems without moralizing. And it adds an acidic and peculiarly Viennese brand of dark wit.
It would be a shame to explain much of the plot, because there's a special delight in having this old-fashioned farce unfold in front of you. But it's surely a good thing when even though you know exactly how it's going to pan out, you really enjoy watching it go there.
And Bleibtreu is fantastic – he is born to be a foolish rich-boy with a core of cunning. Great fun!